As elections approach, what is the risk of Russian meddling?

This piece originally appeared in The Oakland Press on September 2, 2018.

Nearly a year after Russian government hackers meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, researchers at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro zeroed in on a new sign of trouble: a group of suspect websites.

The sites mimicked a portal for U.S. senators and their staffs. Emails to Senate users urged them to reset their passwords — an apparent attempt to steal them.

The attempt to infiltrate the Senate network and others reported recently point to Russia’s continued efforts to interfere in … Read More

ELECTION HACKING: SECURITY UPGRADES ARE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE FOR 2018 MIDTERMS, AND RACE IS ALREADY ON FOR 2020, EXPERTS SAY

This piece originally appeared in Newsweek on August 29, 2018.

BY  

Election experts, cybersecurity experts and those who are overseeing the upcoming midterms have one thing to say about stopping Russian interference in American elections: Forget 2018. It’s too late. Focus on 2020.

Before President Donald Trump had even been sworn into office, intelligence agencies revealed that cyberattacks spanning across 21 states had been conducted under the direct order of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FBI, CIA and National Security Agency’s report concluded that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary … Read More

Next frontier of Russian meddling: energy intimidation

This piece originally appeared on The Hill on August 28, 2018.

Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections is now largely beyond debate. But this focus is too limited in scale and too narrow in scope. This is more than just a challenge to American elections. Russia has interfered repeatedly with democracies in Europe, including a number of our NATO allies. Putin has used cyberattacks, misinformation campaigns and support for rightist parties. He even attempted an overthrow of the government in Montenegro as they approached a national decision to join NATO.

Another key … Read More

Election officials’ concerns turn to information warfare as hackers gather in Vegas

This piece originally appeared on CNN on August 12, 2018.

By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN)As hackers sit down to break into dozens of voting machines here in Las Vegas this weekend, some state and local election officials that have flown in to witness the spectacle at one of the world’s largest hacking conventions are becoming increasingly concerned about another threat to November’s midterm elections: information warfare.

Organizers of a “voting village” at the annual Def Con hacker convention have packed a conference room at Caesars Palace with voting machines and have asked civically-curious hackers to wreak … Read More

Hackers at convention test voting systems for bugs

This piece originally appeared on Reuters.com on August 10, 2018.

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Def Con, one of the world’s largest security conventions, served as a laboratory for breaking into voting machines on Friday, extending its efforts to identify potential security flaws in technology that may be used in the November U.S. elections.

Hackers will continue to probe the systems over the weekend in a bid to discover new vulnerabilities, which could be turned over to voting machine makers to fix.

The three-day Las Vegas-based “Voting Village” also aimed to expose security issues in digital poll books

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US officials hope hackers at Defcon find more voting machine problems

This piece originally appeared on CNET on August 10, 2018.

by Alfred Ng

This election day, US officials are hoping for a vote of confidence on cybersecurity.

Hackers at the Defcon cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Friday took on voting machines again, after showing how easy it was to break into election machines at last year’s gathering. This time around, officials from the US Department of Homeland Security were on hand to learn directly from hackers who find problems with election security.

“We’ve been partners with Defcon for years on a lot of various different issues, so we see … Read More

At DEF CON ’18, kids as young as 5 challenged to hack election results websites, voting machines

This piece originally appeared on ABC News on August 10, 2018.

By LEE HARRIS

This year’s DEF CON kicks off Friday in Las Vegas, and hackers will again have access to dozens of pieces of equipment — voting machines and pollbooks widely used in U.S. elections, including several models they haven’t previously attempted to crack.

Children as young as 5 … Read More

DHS’ Big Data Integration Challenge

This piece originally appeared on The Cipher Brief on August 8, 2018. 

BY FRANCIS X. TAYLOR

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently traveled from Washington D.C. to New York with her senior team in tow, to announce the creation of the National Risk Management Center.  It is intended to be DHS’ tip of the spear when it comes to information sharing between the public and private sectors about emerging and sometimes urgent, cyber security threats. 

In an opinion piece posted on CNBC, Nielsen said that the U.S. is not “connecting the dots” quickly enough and said “Between government

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PERSPECTIVE: National Vetting Center a Needed, Not Controversial, Security Asset

This piece originally appeared on Homeland Security Today on June 11, 2018. 

  Francis X. Taylor

For decades the U.S. has screened and vetted those who wish to enter the United States or apply to come to U.S. as visitors, immigrants or refugees. While technology and threats have changed, what has remained the same is the need for our officials on the front lines to have the most up-to- date and accurate information to decide who should or should not be allowed to enter our country.

To that end, earlier this year the National Vetting Center (NVC) was created to … Read More

Senators Want Dumber Tech For Energy Grid Cybersecurity

This piece originally appeared on NextGov.com on March 9, 2018.

By Aaron Boyd

Legislation to dumb-down the nation’s electrical grid in the name of cybersecurity advanced out of a Senate committee on Thursday, bringing a retro approach to securing critical infrastructure one step closer to passage.

The Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, cosponsored by Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, advanced out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on a voice vote. The central provision of the bill is a pilot program led by the director of the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the

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